New generation Ruslan planes to be produced in 2016-2018

Moscow, Feb 20 (Itar-Tass) Regular production of theRuslan new generation planes will start in Ulyanovsk, Russiain 2016-2018, Director General of the Volga-Dnepr CompanyValery Gabriel said.

"The Volga-Dnepr company will place an order for 20planes, and thereis an option for 20 more," he said. "Theproject will repay itself if we have orders for 50-60 An-24Ruslan planes of the new generation."

"I am sure that the order for this model, which is uniquein the world, will come from Russia''s Air Forces," he added.

The project is implemented jointly with aircraftspecialists from Ukraine.

In 2017-2018 the international aviation commission willraise its requirements to the engines and board equipment. Theprogramme to modernise the Ruslan to answer the newrequirements, would need 400 million dollars, Gabriel said.

Modernised Ruslan will have a cargo capacity of 150tonnes.

"Not a single foreign aircraft even approaches Ruslan,their maximum capacity is below 100 tonnes," experts say.

For a time the massive An-124 held the mantle of theworld''s largest aircraft before the arrival of the An-225, astretched six engine derivative. It is commonly used foroversize freight charters.

Developed primarily as a strategic military freighter inwhich role it can carry missile units and main battle tanks,the first prototype An-124 flew on December 26, 1982.

A second prototype, named Ruslan after a Russian folkhero, made the type''s first western public appearance at theParis Airshow in June 1985, preceding the type''s firstcommercial operations in January 1986. Since that time theAn-124 has set a wide range of payload records, a recentachievement being the heaviest single load ever transported byair - a 124 tonne powerplant generator and its associatedweight spreading cradle, a total payload weight of 132.4tonnes, set in late 1993. (Itar-Tass)

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